Why Brand Purpose Matters
During a conversation with a client partner, the CEO asked this question, “why does brand purpose matter to anyone inside or outside the organization?”
At first, I was a little surprised by the question.
My mistake was working with the assumption that, by now, most business leaders understand the value and impact of an activated purpose.
Allow me to correct that mistake and shed some light on the question.
Many business leaders and entrepreneurs, especially if you are the founder of a business, rely on your passion to be automatically understood and replicated by your staff and understood by your customers. Your passion runs deep, but that may not be the case for others. Of course, your driving passion in itself can be contagious if it’s authentic. We see this in charismatic leaders.
Speaking honestly, much of your staff may be working just to earn a living and have a decent job, at least in the beginning. As such, there is often a void of untapped energy being missed by keeping this passion locked up inside a founder or a core leadership team.
A defined and activated why that gets entrepreneurs and team members going above and beyond just collecting a paycheck can become a force for change in the organization and elsewhere. When this why is defined, written down and put into action throughout the organization it exponentially enlarges its impact.
Consider this, what might start off as an individual’s purpose can be catalyzed into a ‘brand purpose.’
What is a Brand Purpose?
There’s a lot of confusing brand jargon out there in the public.
A Brand Purpose isn’t an ornamental marketing term reserved for large corporations like Apple, Nike, Amazon, and Google. Nor is it a navel-gazing practice for new-age businesses.
Brand Purpose applies to all businesses: small businesses, solopreneurs, Fortune 100’s, and start-ups. It also applies equally to for-profit and non-profit companies. And, it may begin to solve what keeps leaders up at night.
Properly defined and activated, it will be the reason your customers buy from you. It’s the reason your business exists beyond profit. It’s what gets your team to go above and beyond to serve and create something of exceptional value for your customers. Your Brand Purpose aligns and ignites your team and leadership focus on what matters most to your business.
Why Why Matters
In his now-famous TEDx talk Simon Sinek popularized a concept that goes back to the Greeks (eudaimonia, meaning “good” “spirit”) on the importance of Why. Here’s the simple and potent premise: You need to know why you’re in business and share that with the world. Your customers buy into this motivation. Your Brand Purpose is your reason for being, and customers buy your why not your what.
In other words, no one really cares about your “Authentic pastries, sourced from the freshest organic ingredients” (The what and the how). Your customers can buy all those ingredients at the local farmers’ market or in the less-expensive product that sits next to yours on the shelf. What they do care about is how your why delivers on the real value of your products.
Ultimately, your why is what’s in it for them.
By formalizing the passion of the business founders, owners and leaders, it brings the brand purpose out of leaders’ head and heart and makes it clear to the team. Once it’s clear to the team, and when they can bring it to life, it can be easily understood and felt by the customer. What started as a passion, therefore, becomes a set of decision-making principles that effect brand culture and customer experience.
Reasons Brand Purpose matters:
- It impacts the world of your customers. Brands with a purpose can have a profound impact on their communities as well as their customers. These brands set the stage for change and have the opportunity to recruit people around them to be a part of the solution.
- It builds trust and loyalty. When it comes to brand purpose, authenticity rules. People can smell a fake from a mile away, so it’s in your best interest to only establish your brand purpose from the soul of your company. By being consistently real with your customers you build trust, and trust leads to loyalty.
- It sets your brand apart. A publicly activated Brand Purpose will differentiate your brand from the competition. When customers know what you stand for, they can align their own values with yours. This is how people choose to belong to your brand, and how deep and lasting relationships are created.
- It drives your culture. A clear and activated purpose rallies your team around a motivating center. Your brand purpose activates the should of your business and aligns the entire team’s actions and behaviors. Well defined and activated, your brand purpose provides clarification required to create a strong corporate culture.
- It defines your customer experience. As your employees rally around and live your Brand Purpose, they embody it through how they treat, serve, and communicate with your customers. This is what creates your customers’ experience of your brand. When you deliver on your Brand Purpose and Promise, customers trust you.
Remember, your consumers buy your Why, but only if they know it and trust it.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.